LinkedIn API Platform Goes Live: Your Resume and Business Network Now Have an API

Adam DuVander
Nov. 23 2009, 05:35PM EST

Perhaps your most important online network of business contacts is now programmable. LinkedIn launched its API (our LinkedIn API profile), which allows developers to access a user's connections and anyone's profile data, in addition to several other features. Though some are saying "finally," it's clearly not too late for LinkedIn, who aims to be the professional networking platform.

It's been about a year since LinkedIn added the ability for third party apps to play in its profiles. Now it's going the other way, allowing anyone to mix its own content in their site. Using OAuth, your applications can access many of the features your users would use on the main LinkedIn site itself.

The developer area isn't particularly organized yet, but you can find a lot by digging through the API forums. The main portions of the new API:

  • Profile, including either the public view or the more detailed view your user may be allowed to see. Be sure to also check out the fields available.
  • Connections, a list of user's contacts
  • Status, the Twitter-esque message users update. You can set, clear and retrieve a user's status.
  • Search for LinkedIn users with a number of parameters, including name, company and title.
  • Invitations can be sent from the API, as well, which means developers can control the entire search, view and friend user experience.

As platforms go, LinkedIn is opening wide. It benefits from updated profiles and additional contacts. And ZDNet says the economy makes the platform a well-timed move for LinkedIn:

LinkedIn has never been more important as the unemployment rate rises. Facebook keeps you up to date, but LinkedIn can help you get a job.

...

Simply put, LinkedIn may be late, but for the site’s popularity the timing may be just right.

It may be an obvious move and it may be later than others, but at least it is also bold. Many companies shy away from opening up when they launch an API. LinkedIn is making its platform very available, which benefits them at least as much as developers.

Adam DuVander Hi! I'm Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and former Executive Editor of ProgrammableWeb. I currently serve as a Contributing Editor. If you have API news, or are interested in writing for ProgrammableWeb, please contact editor@programmableweb.com Though I'm a fan of anything API-related, my particular interest is in mapping. I've published a how-to book, Map Scripting 101, to get anyone started making maps on websites. In a not-so-distant past life I wrote for Wired and Webmonkey.

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[...] enthusiasm  for LinkedIn increased dramatically once I learned that LinkedIn opened up its API to the public at large.  What is still unclear to me is how much the API allows one to get data in and out  LinkedIn.   [...]